Friday, August 12, 2011

The fickleness of the crowd

It appears that the e-petition calling for rioters to be deprived of their state benefits has reached (and vastly exceeded) the 100,000 threshold, and so becomes the first "people's petition" to be considered for parliamentary debate. Against all the odds, those campaigns calling for the restitution of capital punishment and a referendum on the EU have been trounced by the grievance-du-jour - the riots. The wording of the petition:
Convicted London rioters should loose (sic) all benefits.

Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them.

It has no chance of becoming law, of course. Good grief, by edict of the European Court of Human Rights, we're about to give prisoners the vote: the possibility then of depriving them of their benefits (and so their council homes) would be a grievous violation of their rights to a family life/home/security, etc., etc. Unless the UK is to derogate from the Convention, Parliament is bound by its provisions and protocols. A debate would therefore be a waste of parliamentary time.

But this petition merely serves to show how time-wasting and futile the initiative is: those proposing the petitions cannot even spell, let alone grasp the importance of submitting a correctly-worded petition to increase its chances of being selected by the Committee.

Consider the EU Referendum petition: 'Britain wants Referendum to leave EU'. What a crass and clumsy petition that is: the wording will probably prove an instant hurdle for the Committee, since 'to leave' prejudges the outcome. But the crowd shows its stupidity even more in the absurd penis-measuring competition between those calling for the reintroduction of capital punishment and those who wish to retain the ban. Why on earth can people not see that this is the same debate? Whichever crosses the 100,000 threshold first, the debate which takes place in Parliament will be identical to that which would have taken place had the other e-petition 'won'.

The problem with all this, quite simply, is that whatever the media chooses to push will determine the success or failure of a petition. No doubt if some paedophile had just assaulted and murdered Romeo Beckham, the celebrity-driven rage and global shock would ensure that the petition calling for the restoration of the death penalty would reach a million over night. If the Falkland Islands were invaded tomorrow and the EU invoked some veto or assumed some authority to interfere in our sovereign defence of the realm, the petition calling for a referendum on our EU membership would reach five milion over night. And any petitions with massive popular appeal which are not selected by the élite Committee can only serve to exacerbate the disconnect between Parliament and the people; between the Government and the governed.

Parliament does not produce unity: it is an expression of a pre-existing unity. As laudable for 'Big Society' localism this initiative may be, mob-rule e-petitions are subject to such variables and emotional manipulations that they cannot possibly succeed in the present format. What is the point of reintroducing the death penalty today only to have a petition tomorrow demanding the reintroduction of a ban after the BBC had televised the first execution?

What does Parliament do when 100,000 have signed the petition calling for the introduction of sharia law in the UK? How does the Committee adjudicate and determine the seriousness of a proposal? And how - since we cannot (yet) determine genuine postal votes - does Parliament authenticate 100,000 signatures and addresses?

Permit His Grace to prophesy...

Should our politicians debate the death penalty, they will vote to sustain the ban. Should they vote on EU membership, they will vote to remain a member. And should they vote on withdrawing benefits from rioters (and why does the petition limit it only to London's rioters?), they will honour their ECHR obligations.

And the people will eventually notice this disconnect between their clearly-expressed concerns and the voting patterns of their representatives, pretty much as they already do.

And they will do nothing about.

Pretty much as they already don't.

This is about seeming and feeling: politicians seeming to share the primary concerns of the people, and the people feeling that they are being listened to. This is not X-Factor politics, for in the real-life X-Factor, a malignant Rage Against The Machine rebellion was able to defeat the divine right of Simon Cowell: the little man conquered the Goliath that is the modern music machine.

The divine right of experts can be a dashed awkward thing to shift.


Anonymous Christian Socialist said...

Your Grace,

of course the petition fail and rightly so. To deny the protestors their benefits and their homes is a gross breach of their human rights.

12 August 2011 at 10:52  
Blogger huffward said...

Yes of course, knee-jerk petitions are always predictable. I can understand a certain anger at lifestyle benefit-recipients biting the hand that feeds them, but it leaves the question: what would be the result of withdrawing benefits? What would the benefitless do? Where would they go?
The answer is surely obvious - on the street where they would more of the very things that have sparked the protest.
As I say, I can understand the anger, but anger is a poor basis for legislation.

12 August 2011 at 10:54  
Anonymous Soundguy800 said...

You write: '...we're about to give prisoners the vote: the possibility then of depriving them of their benefits...'

I am sure it was just careless phraseology, but perhaps you need to be clear that prisoners (as opposed to ex-prisoners) do not receive benefits. Although some of the little darlings think they should...!

12 August 2011 at 11:01  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Yes, it's already established that we the taxpayer will be paying for the damage, and the anger at paying benefits and housing is understandable. But His Grace's analysis is spot on. Politicians should not be taking their lead from the mob; whichever mob it happens to be.

12 August 2011 at 11:03  
Blogger huffward said...

Tony B.

"... whichever mob it happens to be."

I like it. That's spot on too.

And 100,000 is only 0.17% of the population. If that is significant, perhaps we can all look forward to a BNP government.

12 August 2011 at 11:08  
Blogger huffward said...

I ask myself an earth-shattering question - is this the end of the blanket prohibition of "judgementalism"? I have always considered the dismissive phrase, "You're being judgemental" as the most judgemental of all, for it clearly says "I can judge you but you cannot judge in turn".
But now it is being suggested that people should be judged on their behaviour before receiving benefits. I ask myself: is this the end of civilisation?

12 August 2011 at 11:24  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Your Grace,

As you say this whole process is a pointless waste of time; anything that the government does not like would be dead in the water once it came to the Commons, it will probably become half important as a 'live' opinion poll when controversial and emotive matters are discussed (e.g. abortion).

If this were Switzerland or even California it might be different, but we have a Parliamentary system of government.

12 August 2011 at 11:24  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"...about seeming and feeling: politicians seeming to share the primary concerns of the people, and the people feeling that they are being listened to..."

In other words. the petition thing is one of the latest but unlikely to be the last whacky stunt introduced by pols unfit to govern and part of the problem not the solution.

Wake up call? How many times must a cockerel crow?

12 August 2011 at 11:25  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Presumably though, if we were to withdraw from the EU, and were thus able to make our own laws, this would be a less of a pointless exercise and more of a dangerous one? Maybe that's why they felt they could do it?

Huffward 1: you are too kind.

Huffward 2: taking away benefits would not remove the need for them: these people would then have to get jobs or resort to criminality; which is the more likely - particularly in these uncertain economic times?

12 August 2011 at 11:30  
Anonymous Tony B said...

YG, totally off topic but whenever I visit your blog on either of my laptops using Google Chrome I get a pop-up window top left that plays a You Tube video of one Ron Pope..I assume it is not you causing this but I am at a loss to account for it and it's getting on my anyone else suffering this affliction and can they offer an explanation?

12 August 2011 at 11:39  
Blogger huffward said...

Tony B.

I use Google Chrome and I don't get this so it seems the problem must be with you. Could be a virus.
I assume you have cleared all your browser history. If that doesn't work you could try re-installing Google Chrome. Might be a complete waste of time but it is what I would do.

12 August 2011 at 11:44  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Huffward, thanks. Seems odd that it's happening to me on both machines. Chrome owned by Google...hmm interesting :o)

12 August 2011 at 11:54  
Blogger The Minister for Public Enlightenment said...

Parliament does not produce unity: it is an expression of a pre-existing unity

It's the unity that comes from blindly voting for the big political parties whenever a General Election comes round. When we continually vote for them like a bunch of suckers MPs know no fear. They look after their financial backers and are less than economical regarding their expenses. They allow their banking buddies to behave like latter day alchemists, creating money out of thin air and picking our pockets through inflation that devalues our savings. This is institutionalised looting but shop looting is against the law.

I can assure His Grace that there is already a serious disconnect between Government and governed regardless of the e-petition lobbying fad.

12 August 2011 at 12:00  
Anonymous Tony B said...

oh and blogger owned by Google of course. That really is suspicious. Clearing browser data since "the beginning of time" seems to have got rid of it.

12 August 2011 at 12:01  
Blogger huffward said...

Tony B.

Yes, that is odd. What about plugins? Do you have a Google Chrome plugin you have installed on both machines?
I've built and upgraded web sites for several multinationals so I have been here before, but these sorts of problems can be tough to track down.

Have you tested on another browser? Do you get the problem there?

12 August 2011 at 12:02  
Anonymous Tony B said...

"I can assure His Grace that there is already a serious disconnect between Government and governed regardless of the e-petition lobbying fad"

Minister - I am quite sure His Grace knows this. But you're right about the institutionalised looting. Similarly, smashing up other people's property is something Cameron knows something about as a former member of the Bullingdon Club. If you're an Old Etonian in a blue coat, though, and can pay for the damage afterwards, it's ok. Just kids having fun.

12 August 2011 at 12:05  
Blogger huffward said...

Yes, and if you're an MP who has been fiddling his expenses, you offer to repay, and you're bewildered when this offer is considered inadequate and you find yourself before the beak.

12 August 2011 at 12:09  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Huffward. Well I never. The only thing I could think of was the web developer toolbar thingy (looks like we are in the same line of work!) and as soon as I clicked on that, the window re-appeared. This seems to implicate the boys at Google in a bit of annoying and intrusive cross-pollination.

Apologies YG.

12 August 2011 at 12:09  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Huffward, come come, don't you realise that those inflated expense claims were just "mistakes"? One man's looting is another man's mistake, apparently. I'm sure we could go on like this for some time ;o)

12 August 2011 at 12:12  
Blogger huffward said...

Yes, I do find being governed by people who aren't sure of where they live or how many houses they own quite unnerving. Perhaps this explains some of their crass legislation. Then there's the one who was censured for taking kickbacks a few years ago, now finds himself chairing an ethics committee, and delivers pompous moral lectures on the BBC news.

I'm beginning to feel some sympathy for the looters. "If they can grab houses and stick thousands of quid in their back pockets, why shouldn't I grab a telly?"

12 August 2011 at 12:25  
Anonymous MrJ said...

One way and another it is all too easy for a quite hardened rigorist to become talked into sympathy for the looters.

A precautionary measure against that, would be closure of internet communication for all but persons permitted by Chief Whips (and unnameable secret services), plus keeping the proles at bay by allowing public access to mind-rotting trivia and approved sporting events and games sites, and, of course, gambling sites producing government revenue for the payment of topmost salaries for MPs (both houses) (for life) + expense allowances not less than twice that of MEPs.

That should help to even things out a bit.

12 August 2011 at 12:47  
Anonymous tony b said...

Do we suspect that the sickness in this society is written right through it, like a stick of rock? And perhaps manifests itself in different ways in different social circumstances? But then again, are things not far worse elsewhere? Is this just original sin?

12 August 2011 at 12:58  
Blogger huffward said...

Sure, the street-gang member smashes and grabs, the boardroom thief embezzles.
Who damages more lives, the looting gangs, or the cosy little syndicate that asset-stripped Rover Cars? Or the shareholders who vote to move production overseas, or the consumers whose buying habits motivate them to do so?
I think the big difference over the past week is that the rioters and looters created FEAR.
It is FEAR, pure and simple, that drives the calls for police to be armed with machine guns. People might condemn bent politicians and boardroom crooks but the don't FEAR them in the same way.

12 August 2011 at 13:22  
Anonymous tony b said...

Hear, hear

12 August 2011 at 13:31  
Anonymous pilgrimrose said...

As your Grace's strapline seems to suggest, you are striving to reconcile the 'politico' and the 'religious', at least insofar as bringing them closer together in this rudderless era permits.


the Good Friday mob will always crucify the Truth...and many of that mob will be members of the Palm Sunday mob, too.

Eventually, however nobly intentioned, Democracy eats itself. It is not self-sustaining, as is manifest by the cries of this last week for 'them' to put things right. 'They' are responsible. 'They' should have been here.

Politicians are powerless. 'They' are 'us'. There's no one in charge.

The Big Society will never become a reality until the hearts of the people consent to be changed and reflect that they are made in God's image. That requires humility, but the proper meaning of the word confers identity, power and grace upon all. It works from the bottom up. Not the top down. (This just may be true democracy!)

Your Grace speaks of the 'divine right of experts'. Well, the Divine Right of Kings had some deeply deplorable abuses, but at least it was coming from the right place (and with prayerful intervention might be turned to the good). That blueprint, many centuries older than democracy, has been abandoned.

Religion points the way to the need for salvation from the worst in ourselves. It fosters real humanity.

Unfortunately, those who perpetrate wars and terrorism - and this applies to all nations - often do so in the Name of God for self-justification, thereby perverting its intrinsic power.

In 18th Century Britain - a time of riots, revolution, wars, dire poverty, economic, social and religious upheaval, when there was capital punishment and transportation for the pettiest of crimes - King George III recognised that much was owed to one man, an Anglican to his death-bed, though he founded, by default, the movement that is the Methodist Church. The oratory and eloquence of John Wesley, which proved itself in changed lives and demonstrable social progress, was not empty rhetoric. It was a major stabilising influence in the prevention of bloody revolution on these islands.

It was an example of Man (With All Faults) working in co-operation with his Maker.

One refreshing and positive thing emerging from a democratic outlook during the violence of the last week, is that some among the more privileged realise that 'there but for the Grace of God' go we.

It is sobering to reflect what might obtain when our society evolves into post-Democratic. Maybe, if it also becomes post-Secular, we are all in with a chance.

One thing is certain, Truth, as ever, will prevail.

12 August 2011 at 13:40  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Meanwhile in parts of Burma a conflict continues which is much more brutal than anything in England in the last few days.
No TV cameras to capture any of the killing and destruction so it all goes largely unnoticed.

12 August 2011 at 13:54  
Blogger huffward said...


You put me in mind of Phillip Larkin's lines:

"But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?"

Myself, I wonder if we have already entered the post-democratic age. The tools of democracy remain, but none of the fervour. Apathy has destroyed it, much as it has also destroyed the wide acceptance of the Christian faith, and the moral code it fostered, no matter how imperfectly it might have been followed.

12 August 2011 at 14:11  
Anonymous berserker-nkl said...

The youths must be feeling very happy. They've DONE something! They get two days in prison. They've got endless stories to tell with their mates. As Flaubert said: "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."

12 August 2011 at 14:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking of divinity and being right...
and of experts:
A TV pundit last night observed that the perpetrators of vandalism, violence, arson and looting are Blair's Babies.
Are we seeing the firstfruits of his legacy?

12 August 2011 at 14:51  
Blogger huffward said...


Re Flaubert, I think my favourite Herbert Spencer quote is apt here:

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools."

12 August 2011 at 14:53  
Blogger huffward said...


Yes, I thnk we are seeing the fruits of Blairism. I've made the point myself elewhere.

12 August 2011 at 14:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"But the crowd shows its stupidity even more in the absurd penis-measuring competition between those calling for the reintroduction of capital punishment and those who wish to retain the ban. Why on earth can people not see that this is the same debate?"

I've signed the retention one. I didn't sign it to sponsor a subsequent debate in Parliament, I deliberately signed it in the spirit of a poll.

I'm seeing 6" versus 9" or thereabouts so far but I'm not getting particularly erect about it. Perhaps the smaller one needs another, ahem, fluffer to help its performance.

12 August 2011 at 16:57  
Blogger English Viking said...

Surely a better way of allowing the people a real method of deciding policy is to make political party manifestoes legally binding. Instead of the usual load of piffle, they should contain set goals and a timetable to achieve them. Failure to do so automatically triggers a general election.

It'll never happen. Far too much like common semnse.

12 August 2011 at 17:00  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I thought a 'sock-puppet' was Shari Lewis's 'Lamb Chop' - no?

Has someone got their hand up old Dodo then; or am I missing something?

12 August 2011 at 17:14  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Tut - above appeared in wrong section grrr!

12 August 2011 at 17:17  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Why petition?

Just shout it from the rooftops!

12 August 2011 at 17:22  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

Wrong place indeed. Would you like me to suggest a more appropriate place to post it?

12 August 2011 at 18:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

This astute observation by The Minister for Public Enlightenment needs repeating...

"Parliament does not produce unity: it is an expression of a pre-existing unity.
It's the unity that comes from blindly voting for the big political parties whenever a General Election comes round. When we continually vote for them like a bunch of suckers MPs know no fear."

The Inspector General is a champion of democracy, but our watered down version needs updating.

Referenda is the true spirit of democracy. Government for the people with the people. Contentious issues - Capital Punishment, Corporal Punishment, Membership of the EU, Euro, whether we subject ourselves to mass immigration - all could be determined this way.

Each decision would be in force, and not to be changed for 12 years. Thereafter, another referendum. Imagine the stability resulting from that !

Thanks to the Internet, the electorate has never been better informed. However, IG suspects deep resentment from the commons. MPs murmuring "I wasn't elected to do the peoples bidding - I was elected to do my bidding" - maybe upto 650 of them. But what a way to reactivate an interest in our democratic process...

12 August 2011 at 18:42  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

At times such as these a majority of the public rush towards authoritarian government, not away from it.

WHEN, not if, these rioting FLASHMOBS become an almost daily reality, the mass of the voting public will do so even more desperately.

I also contend that there is absolutely no difference between a Conservative government and a Labour government in office, however much the likes our political parties, mass media in general, and The BBC in particular, propagate the cruel illusion that there is.

We should ask ourselves WHY are our police services almost entirely relying on CCTV cameras to make most of their arrests, when they never did before we have CCTV cameras. This especially when it was more then obvious, right from the very start, that simply covering up the face would make arrest impossible, and conviction even more so?

To cut a long story short, as short as possible, it was long since decided in the highest of establishment controlled committees, that the ultimate 'answer' would be a micro-chipped population, the rest are simply step by step devices designed to prepare the public for this most inevitable outcome.

IMO, and in the opinion of many others, these recent problems have been instigated from the very top, using the establishments long standing contacts within the criminal underworld.

Are you absolutely certain, that we are not correct in this opinion?

We are being set-up to accept, nay beg for our own enslavement within a cashless, corporatist socialist state.

A computer monitored micro-chipped population would require virtually no police force, judicial, banking, tax collecting, or political system. Therefore the potential cost savings would be perfectly vast. Even prisons themselves would become largely redundant, as 'criminals' or anyone the establishment considers to be undesirable, could be quite literally switched off, or simply imprisoned within there own homes.

Get it?

No of course you do not, which is why this is oh so very clever.

Please be reminded.

They cause the problem.

They then wait for the highly inevitable reaction.

They then give the public exactly what they long since intended to give them, whether the mass of the public ask for it or not.

Some call this democracy in action, others The Hegalian Dialectic, I call it our own worst possible nightmare, come to life.

These things are not usually given a strict deadline.

However at the rate we are currently going I give it no more then 20 years before we are cueing up to have ourselves and our children micro-chipped ASAP.


Answer; I don't have the slightest clue, however I do know this.

If you don't have the slightest clue what the problem is, then you don't have a hope in hell of finding a solution to it.

12 August 2011 at 18:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Referenda is the true spirit of democracy. Government for the people with the people."

Perhaps Simon Cowell could organise it for us all.

12 August 2011 at 19:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thank you DanJ0, I was expecting critism...

12 August 2011 at 20:22  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Atlas, I not suggesting that you are displaying a somewhat paranoid view of events to come and their causes BUT if what you say is true, why haven't these sinister organisations silenced you or at least attempted to stop you enlightening the rest of us. Just a thought and no offence meant.

12 August 2011 at 20:28  
Blogger huffward said...


Referenda - nice idea, but what would be the result?

Monday's referendum - double public expenditure.
Tuesday's referendum - abolish taxation.
Wednesday's referendum (after a fatal shooting by police) - prohibit police from carrying firearms.
Thursdays referendum (after a riot) - prosecute all police who failed to shoot on sight.

Surely we all know the public opinion knee-jerks on a day-to-day basis.

12 August 2011 at 20:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

huffward Sir

One referundum issue per year, and thereafter, same issue not to be refered again for 12 years. No kneejerk reaction there...

12 August 2011 at 21:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Thank you DanJ0, I was expecting critism..."

Well, I was fairly gentle.

The problem with direct democracy rather than representative democracy is that people need to take the time to understand the issues before voting. Who has time to do that? And how many have the inclination?

Even with an EU referendum, on what basis would people actually decide? A fair few will just decide on a Sun headline along the lines of Save Our Pound.

12 August 2011 at 21:26  
Anonymous Sock Puppet Sentinel said...

Christian Socialist said...
"Your Grace,
of course the petition fail and rightly so. To deny the protestors their benefits and their homes is a gross breach of their human rights."

You're no good at this sock puppeting. Far too much satire to be taken seriously.

12 August 2011 at 21:28  
Anonymous ad said...

If a petition is just a flash in the pan, Parliament can simply ignore it. If there is a long lasting feeling behind a petition, this just makes it harder for Parliament to ignore an issue that politicians do not wish to discuss. So I do not really see a problem.

Two thoughts occur about this specific petition. First is that people are not happy about their money being taken from them and given to a bunch of criminals. I do not see why anyone would be surprised to see that. It is hard to believe that any other act of the government does more to inflame people's sense of injustice.

Second is that there is a distinct lack of belief that even those convicted of looting are likely to receive any significant punishment. So if you object to this suggested punishment - suggest something else. Preferably something that will not cost the government more of that money that it does not have, and will not have for the remotely foreseeable future.

12 August 2011 at 22:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well DanJ0 (12 August 2011 21:26) same argument applies to ordinary elections, but we get by...

12 August 2011 at 22:06  
Anonymous Chris said...

Atlas......I understand you completely. You are right.....the people are demanding ever-increasing control, which will strip us ALL of our freedoms if we're not careful. The rest of you, laugh all you like, such things are perfectly possible. When the leisure facilities close down, social life ends, curfews are imposed and everyone submits to utter and total authoritarian control from dawn to dusk, THEN they might realise what they've done. Fools. utter, stupid fools. Death would be more welcome.

12 August 2011 at 22:10  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Atlas says...18:56

This is still England Atlas, where our Ancestral Tradition is also the Law, so when the FLASHMOBS get too giddy, we will eventually deal with them ourselves.

The true history of the setting up of the Police, is a dubious one, in which our Government paid criminals to give back stolen goods, under the guise of having found and returned those stolen goods. Hence the beginings of the modern police force.

I am glad Cameron has not agreed to keep their funding up, given the links between police and criminality I find it a tad strange this rioting began, just as the force needed an arguement for funding.

12 August 2011 at 22:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Atlas - Want more democracy ? See 12 August 2011 18:42

12 August 2011 at 22:26  
Blogger The Worker said...

Let's have Kings with a Divine Right to rule. Absolute Monarchs across Christendom, invested with God given authority to rule in the best interests of the people. Approved and crowned by an undivided Church and following the precepts of Statecraft as espoused by Erasmus.

No wait. We've tried that and it didn't work. We divided the Church, opted for individualism, permitted Kings to define Christian theology to suit their own purposes, had a Church putting temporal interests above spiritual truths and, having despatched a Monarch headless to the afterlife, opened Pandora's Box and let chaos out.

'Democracy' where for art thou 'Democracy'? You and your sister 'Liberalism' promised so much. The 'invisible hand' guiding the market', bringing wealth and prosperity to all nations. The 'common good' that would mysteriously emerge and be self maintaining through the pursuit of self interest.

Where did it all go so wrong? Where will it all end?

12 August 2011 at 22:57  
Blogger English Viking said...

The Worker,

I personally detest 'the Bard', and all the sycophantic, middle-class toss-pots that think it de rigueur to quote his shite at the dinner table, in order to display how well read they are to the other toss-pots.

However, we must at least do him the honour of quoting him correctly.

Wherefore. Not where for. And it means 'why', not 'where'.

Here endeth the lesson.

12 August 2011 at 23:29  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Divine right fails when the arsehole claiming it turns out to be just that.

Now Aristocracy is another matter, if we could rediscover the "true" traite of Nobilty, being spiritual leadership.

Only even then, the most spiritual tend to "truly" be the ascetics and renouncers of society, hence we get the Noble Savage.

Which is why Merlin gets called the wild man of the woods, so we need a traite found in the primal mind, before the fall.

And a twin image in the rise.

Most of all we need to rediscover nature, free from the false debtor cum creditor status, as owed to the unseen and unanswerable.

For that is the theft of "truth"

13 August 2011 at 00:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You believe in Shamanism BitB.

The Five Noble Qualities to be found in the Chieftan.

13 August 2011 at 00:25  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...


If shamanism is a term for animist then maybe you are right, I believe every spiritual tradition has an animistiic source.

But the animal soul also has a divine soul, lets not be robbed of the truth, the way and the light because I still consider myself a follower of Christ.

13 August 2011 at 01:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Well DanJ0 (12 August 2011 21:26) same argument applies to ordinary elections, but we get by..."

Not really. We vote perhaps on the basis of a manifesto and almost certainly on broad political themes. A typical theme: small state, ecomonically liberal, socially conservative, a little authoritarian on law and order, Euro-sceptic, and so on for the Tory Party.

13 August 2011 at 06:10  
Anonymous tony b said...

So right. I had a similar thought reading TS Eliot's "The waste land". All those allusions to Greek mythology etc what end? To demonstrate to the critics how well read he was. Pure snobbery.

13 August 2011 at 06:28  
Anonymous Anon 2 said...

Oh, there's a bit more to Eliot than that.

And I've much appreciated some of the Shakespeare quoted on this blog. For anyone who has that mindset, this has been great place to come to, over the last few years: literate and erudite, don't you know. Well... maybe you don't.

13 August 2011 at 08:54  
Anonymous DAvid said...

you could do something about it - you could riot.

13 August 2011 at 11:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJO (13 August 2011 06:10) Perhaps you are right. Democracy is too fragile a concept to be given to the people.

Our current system dates to when the landed gentry who were not peers, excercised their strenght and demanded their interests be 'represented' (IE placed in the forefront and above everything else).

Society has moved on but not our democratic system. Still, it's serves us well, and there's never been any complaints....

13 August 2011 at 12:48  
Blogger English Viking said...


You were either up early or to bed late.

Wet the bed?

PS Elliot is shite as well, you are entirely correct in your appraisal of him. Typical big mouthed yank.

A friend of mine is very intellectual, a PhD in fact. I think he sees me as curiosity, a working class amusement. I grew tired of not understanding some of his jokes and quotes, and decided to read the 'classics', in order to better communicate with him. War and Peace, The Illiad, Beowulf (I have to say that that one is quite good), Dickens, Shakespeare, ‘etc.

All to no avail. Crime and punishment was dross, Anna Karenin interminable, The Mayor of Casterbridge ludicrous, Shakey was convoluted, Dickens good only in patches. I once thought that it was because I was stupid, that I didn't understand them, that they were to 'highbrow' for me.

I now realise that they are, mostly, just shite.

KJV is the best book ever written, as the sales figures indubitably prove. 1984 is the pinnacle of the genre. Shogun is excellent.

'We' by Zamyatin is proper Russian literature.

I quite like The Beano, too.

13 August 2011 at 14:40  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

English Viking

The 'Lord of the Rings' is a good read- bit dense in places and unnecessarily flowery at times. I'd recommend you start with 'The Hobbit' first.

It's a pity 'The Valiant' isn't available anymore.

13 August 2011 at 16:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

'The Eagle' (Marvellous memories. we had nothing but we were happy...)

13 August 2011 at 16:58  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

And, just remembered,'The Victor'. Anyone remember 'The Tough of the Track' in that? The bare foot runner who conquoured all before him. The 'Beezer' 'Dandy' and 'Beano'.

Happy Saturdays waiting for the papershop to open.

My sister got the 'Judy' and 'Bunty'. Way too girlie for me!

13 August 2011 at 17:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

We had a dining table with place mats. We thought we were middle class !

13 August 2011 at 17:19  
Blogger huffward said...

I read the Eagle too. Dan Dare, Luck of the Legion.

But all the heroes seemed to have the same chins.

I notice Viking doesn't slag off Shakespeare (which is as well). How about King Lear (viz, rioters v boardroom crooks)?

"Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it."

And a little later:

"Get thee glass eyes, and like a scurvy politician seem to see the things thou dost not."

13 August 2011 at 17:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

And we had central heating - but it only went on if visitors were due...

13 August 2011 at 17:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Steam Engines - Proper goods trains - Track side telegraph poles - Level Crossings worked by a big wheel in the signalbox

13 August 2011 at 17:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Crime and punishment was dross"

I didn't get what was supposed to be so deep and interesting about that. I couldn't get into The Brothers Karamazov either.

13 August 2011 at 18:55  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

Office of Inspector General

If you had a dining table with place mats you were middle class.
And central heating too! Upper middle class, dear boy.

13 August 2011 at 22:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


We used to wake up to ice on the inside of the bedroom window. If that happened to the kids today, they'd be on the phone to Esther Rantzen, calling form underneath their blankets !

13 August 2011 at 22:27  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

It's not quite that bad - yet!

What's worse is their parents would be encouraged to demand their "rights" to central heating, a TV, computer, Ipod, Xbox, annual holidays abroad and assorted other goodies to offset "relative poverty".

What's more, any parent who fights against this, says "No" to little Oliver or, heaven forefend, actually smacks him is a bad parent.

13 August 2011 at 23:18  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

You had a bed and a room for it with windows? Now you're for the aristocracy!

13 August 2011 at 23:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

"I'll give you something to cry about" was the catchphrase then.

The Grammer School setup was the making of IG, it was our Eton, where the next generation of intellectuals and technicians were educated.

Bastard socialists put a stop to that. I put the blame on the bleeding heart liberals. Johnny's doing well but poor Jimmy's lagging - so Johhny, have a taste of what that feels like...

13 August 2011 at 23:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bunk bed not bed. I used to dream of solitary confinement...

13 August 2011 at 23:32  
Blogger Alf Tapper said...

Did someone mention my name ...?

Just having some fish and chips on me way to a race and thought someone said something.

13 August 2011 at 23:47  
Blogger English Viking said...


I did slag the Bard. I suggest you re-read. Complete garbage,


They don't know they're born,
I was happy with butter on my potato.


A table? Such luxury.

13 August 2011 at 23:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Alf Tapper - I remember you. You must be eighty something now.

13 August 2011 at 23:59  
Blogger English Viking said...


The Lord of the flies exceeds the Lord of the rings in every conceivable way.

You strike me as a bit of a Piggy.

What say you?

BTW Populistic bollox does not appeal to this barbarian.

The trilogy?

Don't make me laugh.

Try 'Father and son', by Gosse, if you want a heartbreaker.

14 August 2011 at 00:00  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

English Viking

I'd sooner be a Ralph or a Piggy than a Jack or a Roger!

Who would you be?

Lord of the Rings may be too allegorical for you. I sense you like blood and guts in your literature.

14 August 2011 at 00:25  
Blogger English Viking said...


I like truth. Allegorical or not.

What do you think of Gosse?

14 August 2011 at 00:29  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

Edmund Gosse - read it a long time ago now.

Account of growing up under the influence of a tyrannical, repressive father who was a religious fundamentalist. Interesting insights into family life at the time and breaking free from religious oppression.

Bit boring though. Not sure I like 'kitchen sink' novels.

14 August 2011 at 00:41  
Blogger English Viking said...


It wasn't a novel.

Poor man.

The father, I meant.

14 August 2011 at 00:55  
Blogger English Viking said...

PS How horrible the mother's death.

Perhaps made worse by a doctor?

These are the things which make me doubt.

Poor thing. If only I had the power ....

14 August 2011 at 01:01  
Blogger Dodo the "Troll" said...

Indeed and the suffering of the young Edmund caring for her. The doctors increased her suffering, did their best but were grossly ignorant.

The father? Trapped within his lieral biblical and fundamentalisy mindset.

Doubts ...?

14 August 2011 at 01:46  

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